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Mobile Mavens: What does the industry make of the Epic Games Store coming to mob | Pocket Gamer.biz

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Mobile Mavens: What does the industry make of the Epic Games Store coming to mob | Pocket Gamer.biz

One of GDC’s biggest announcements this year was confirmation that the Epic Games Store would indeed be coming to mobile by the end of the year.

One of the most noteworthy reveals was that the platform would only take a 12% cut from developers, which is notably lower than what the App Store and Google Play take.

With change on the horizon and a store coming to mobile specifically for games, there is a lot of anticipation for how exactly this will play out and what impact it will have on the mobile market.

We reached out to our Mobile Mavens to hear what they think of it all.

Alternative app stores are directly addressing the biggest issue for mobile game developers: lack of discovery. Epic now has the first-mover advantage and will be the one to watch.

With a more favourable revenue split for developers and the promise of a games-focused store, I look forward to seeing new types of games find new audiences in addition to the platforms and distribution channels we’re already so familiar with.

Mobile Mavens: What does the industry make of the Epic Games Store coming to mob | Pocket Gamer.biz

The news of Epic Games Store’s expansion to mobile certainly caught my attention. It’s a significant development in the mobile gaming landscape.

Personally, I find it quite intriguing and am keen to see how it unfolds. The prospect of having access to the Epic Store on mobile platforms opens up new possibilities and opportunities for both developers and players alike.

Regarding third-party stores, I believe they could play a substantial role in the ecosystem if executed effectively.

They offer an avenue for developers to reach broader audiences and provide players with a more diverse selection of games. Success will likely hinge on factors such as user adoption, developer support, and platform stability.

Epic’s decision to offer a lower revenue share compared to industry giants like Apple and Google is noteworthy.

This competitive pricing model could incentivise developers to embrace the Epic Store, potentially leading to increased adoption among both developers and users. It’s a strategic move that could influence the dynamics of the mobile gaming market.

The major benefit for players is the prospect of a more diverse and competitive marketplace. With the Epic Store’s arrival, players may enjoy a broader range of titles and potentially better pricing options. It offers an alternative to the existing app store duopoly, providing consumers with more choice and potentially better value.

Mobile Mavens: What does the industry make of the Epic Games Store coming to mob | Pocket Gamer.biz

I think this is a great announcement and initiative. Competition is always welcome, as it helps prevent the ecosystem from stagnating and encourages a more level playing field. However, some factors may not have been openly communicated but do affect the success of third-party app stores.

Relating to Android, the system is theoretically not restricted for third-party app stores, with some already on the market (notably Amazon and Samsung) and audience adoption has always been a challenge for them. As a bigger entity, Epic Games has quite a good chance of success here, especially given the more relaxed App Store fees.

With regards to IOS, this is more exciting as Apple was always opposed to the concept, yet it comes with a plethora of caveats:

  • EU only, since the changes are driven by the DMA act
  • Apple has introduced new pricing for alternative app stores – this looks positive at first glance, yet they have introduced a similar CPI-driven model to the recent Unity announcement – Core Technology Fee (€0.50 per annual app install, reinstalls included!). This fee comes into effect after one million annual installs in the EU, which could be burdensome for some of the bigger apps
  • There is still a notarisation process for the alternative app stores

So even though this news is definitely positive and welcome, it comes with a health warning, as many elements were not covered in the announcement (understandably so).

It does, however, help that this comes with a bigger name attached to it, especially from the gaming world as opposed to the device manufacturers we’ve seen try – and fail – before.

For App Store users, as long as those App Store fee decreases are passed on to end users, it will be more cost-efficient to use them and should offer a better variety of payment providers apart from the App Store infrastructure-driven ones. For these reasons, I think we’ll explore opportunities to publish our games on the Epic Stores as well.

Having said that, having a game-focused store on mobile is a fairly unique spin on an app store – different from everything else that’s come on mobile.

This could give it a unique appeal that attracts a rather different demographic of users, and it seems more feasible that this could become some people’s ‘go-to’ app store.

Mobile Mavens: What does the industry make of the Epic Games Store coming to mob | Pocket Gamer.biz

The Epic Games Store coming to mobile is expected, but the big question is who Epic is really doing this for. I feel that the possibility of bringing Fortnite back to iOS and improving its bottom line is where its priorities really lie.

There’s no inherent problem with that, especially as the store itself will bring more options for players and developers, which is a good thing overall.

However, to open up the market in the ways developers really want and need, a wider approach to working with the OEMs and independent stores with hundreds of millions of users globally will be required.

Mobile Mavens: What does the industry make of the Epic Games Store coming to mob | Pocket Gamer.biz

While Epic’s big name will do some decent work to draw eyeballs, it’s notable that this hasn’t quite paid off on PC.

Steam is still fairly dominant despite Epic’s hugely expensive attempts to lure people to their store via free games. Having said that, having a game-focused store on mobile is a unique spin on an app store.

Mobile Mavens: What does the industry make of the Epic Games Store coming to mob | Pocket Gamer.biz

Through all of the recent changes to service and subscription fees, the mobile platform duopoly has slowly been preparing itself for genuine competition for the first time ever. It may have just arrived.

However, while Epic has achieved more in the PC gaming ecosystem than many thought possible, mobile is a different beast. Almost all mobile games are free-to-play, employing radical revenue models for survival.

Platform needs are on a whole other level of depth and complexity compared to PC store equivalents – and are actively critical to keep store users engaged and content relevant.

It’s a feat only trillion-dollar companies have managed thus far. Having said that, with a huge cross-platform community and its own content to use as rocket fuel, Epic is one of the few in the world today to possess the ammunition to succeed.

It’s different from everything else on mobile, which could give it a unique appeal that attracts a rather different demographic of users. It seems feasible that this could become some people’s ‘go-to’ app store.

Mobile Mavens: What does the industry make of the Epic Games Store coming to mob | Pocket Gamer.biz

The truth is that open networks will always win. It’s impossible for anyone to hold on to a monopoly forever, especially when there is an open alternative with fewer restrictions in place.

This is also the attitude we bring to payments, hence why we use the Bitcoin Lightning Network – decentralised and open source.

It’s great to see Epic as a fast mover following the roll-out of the DMA this month. As a large enough player to bring the fight to Apple and Google, they are paving the way for the rest of us and making sure the DMA regulation actually results in a behaviour change, which is not a given!

“Think Different” became “Think Greedy”, unfortunately, and I’m sure we can expect more pain for Apple from both regulators and shareholders.

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